San Cristobal, Mexico

By | November 26, 2022

You will never see Paris or New York the way it was seen in the 16th or 18th centuries. These cities burned in fires and were destroyed by bombing and shelling, the streets were straightened and rebuilt every hundred years, and factories, industrial plants, warehouses grew on the site of old districts and quarters every 20-30 years. The Industrial Revolution swept European cities like a steamroller, and World War II changed the face of the Old World forever. Check 800zipcodes for other cities and countries as well as population and geography of North America.

But all the unrest and anxiety of the last five centuries, which reshaped Europe up and down, had little effect on the appearance of the Mexican city of San Cristobal. When you get here, you make a journey into the past – and you see exactly the same thing that the native Mexicans saw 300 years ago – an ancient hot city.

It seems that San Cristobal has never been young, and it has always been just as quiet here, in the courtyards – just as calm and sleepy, and on the streets and in cafes – just as deserted, as if the Spanish siesta lasts in this city without stopping..

How to get there

San Cristobal de Las Casas is a city located 98 kilometers from Tuxtla Gutierrez, the capital of one of the states of Chiapas. It can be reached by the Pan-American Highway 190, the old direction that gradually rises from the valley to the mountains and reveals a landscape of extraordinary beauty. However, you need to drive carefully, especially at night – the road is very winding and unpredictable, and the locals drive as if they were riding a horse, not a car.


The city is located in a valley in which various Mayan tribes have lived since ancient times, but the city was not founded by them at all, but by the first conquistador, Diego de Mazariegos. He founded the small town of Villa Real in this place. He was attracted by the temperate mountain climate and the idyllic tranquility of the valley.

The Indians who lived in this area were far from being so happy with the arrival of uninvited guests: they had to lose their lands, receive previously unknown diseases “as a gift” from the conquistadors, and, in the end, lose their territory. The inhabitants were oppressed and brutally oppressed by the Spaniards. The situation changed for the better only in 1545, when Dominican monks began to settle in the city and its environs. The first bishop, Bartolome de las Casas, after whom the city is named, is still respected by the locals.

Souvenirs and markets

San Cristobal is the center of diverse Indian cultures; descendants of the Maya Indian tribes live in its areas: tzotziles, tzeltales, choles. Each village has its own characteristics: its own special clothes, decorations, distinctive colors, embroidery motifs and handicraft features. Moreover, local residents are not at all averse to selling traditional Indian clothing and household items to tourists.

Once a week, usually on Saturday-Sunday, Indians from nearby villages come to the city to market or simply walk the streets offering jewelry and other products. You can buy charms from evil spirits, dishes, musical instruments and so on from them. At the same time, each village has its own cut of clothes and its traditional colors, so you can buy shirts and tunics with birds from some sellers, from others – with scorpions, and from others – butterflies, etc.

Entertainment and attractions of San Cristobal

Amber Museum

A cozy place where locals who sell handicrafts made of amber like to stop. Next to the museum there is a cozy square, which is in perfect harmony with the general landscape of the street. A cool terraced park with ladders and gratings is a great place to escape the heat in the midday heat.

The museum itself has amazing photographs and crafts made from amber. By the way, Mexican amber is darker than Baltic amber and harder. Before buying crafts and beads, make sure they are really amber and not glass.


The remains of the ancient Mayan city, which seemed to come true from the Indiana Jones films – that’s what Palenque is. In the ruins of the ancient cultural and political center of the Mayan Indians, there is an ancient tower, the remains of the Indian palace, the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Inscriptions. By the way, the locals are 100% sure that there is a relief in the Palace of Inscriptions, on which there is a Mayan astronaut at the control panel of the spacecraft.

San Cristobal, Mexico